Dying in the 21st Century

The next meeting of the New Institute will be a major change from our usual topics.  Most of our meetings attempt to focus on “big issues” about the changes society is going through – changes that affect many or most of us in some way or other.  Our next meeting addresses the biggest change that will happen to every one of us – the way we die.

The speaker will be Dr Peter Saul, a Senior Intensive Care specialist in Newcastle.  Peter estimates that in his long career he has witnessed over 3000 people die.  Apart from his clinical work, Peter is a nationally prominent thinker about the ethical dilemmas faced in acute hospitals, and is a leading adviser to both State and Commonwealth Governments on ‘end of life decision making’, organ donation and advance care planning.

Peter notes that the population of Australia is aging rapidly – the fastest growing age group is the “Over 100’s”.  Most elderly Australians are healthy and well, but death and the process of dying have been irrevocably changed by this remarkable demographic shift.  This talk is about these changes and how they affect all of us – not just the old and the dying.

Most of the recent public discussion about dying has been dominated by polarised arguments about euthanasia.  The reality of dying is far more complex and multi-faceted.  There are no simple ways to escape these complexities – and there is no escaping the final reality.  But happily, a recent survey found that Australia was the second best country in the world to die in.

Based on his experience, Peter has come to doubt that the experience is anything like as bad as the anticipation.  And he believes that the best preparation lies in helping others prepare. Those who are brave enough to talk openly with their own parents and others about aging, illness and dying are helping themselves at the same time.

Woody Allen famously said “It’s not that I’m afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”  Peter Saul presents his ideas in a way that is engaging, thought-provoking and satisfying. The next meeting of the New Institute is one that should not be missed.  Be there when it happens! 


VENUE: South Leagues Club, Llewellyn St.  Merewether.    
DATE: Tuesday 10th August 2010  
TIME: 7.00 till 8.30pm  ADMISSION: $5
FURTHER INFORMATION:  Krysia Walker  0428601692

In a major change of theme, in September, noted chef and providor Stefano Manfredi will lead a forum on “The contribution of food and wine to Australian Society

Check the ‘Coming Up’ link for more New Institute events



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